Has apartment dirt and clutter got you down? Regardless of how small your living space is, keeping it clean day in and day out is a constant challenge. It’s easy to get stuck in a vicious cycle of “throw-everything-on-the-floor-because-it’s-already-messy-anyway-so-I’ll-just-clean-it-all-up-later-at-one-time.”
The sad reality, however, is that cleaning an entire apartment from top to bottom requires a significant time commitment, and it’s hard to find a block of time large enough to tackle the job. The result is often infrequent cleaning. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With a few simple steps and a little discipline, your apartment can become a clean, peaceful haven in about ten minutes a day.
Make It Easy on Yourself
The fact is that a lot of times we actually create work for ourselves that isn’t necessary. So make it easy on yourself and don’t let things stack up to frightening proportions. It doesn’t take any longer to put the dirty socks in the laundry hamper than it does to toss them on the floor, and putting them directly into the hamper will save you the trouble of having to pick them up later. Similarly, folding or hanging up clothing items right after you take them off doesn’t take more than a few seconds, and you’ll appreciate not having to spend a half hour sorting through the week’s pile of accumulated clothing every Saturday.
Tip: make your laundry chores easier by using color-sorted hampers. You’ll save time not having to paw through all that dirty laundry later to make sure your one red shirt doesn’t end up turning your white socks pink.
Does this sound like an unachievable goal? Well, think again! There are a few simple steps that, with practice and determination, can reduce the amount of clutter on surfaces.
First, get used to throwing nonessential items in the trash. It’s painful at first, but once you get started, you’ll find that it’s actually a relief. If you haven’t used it in several months, you probably won’t miss it!
Second, create containers or special spots for small, miscellaneous items that tend to get misplaced or end up speckling counters and tables. Hang your car keys on a hook. Affix a magnetic strip to the medicine cabinet and stick hairpins to it. Have a small container on your bedside table where you can keep vitamins, eyeglasses, a wallet, and whatever other small items you tend to toss there at the end of the day. Even just keeping the clutter contained in a small space is a huge step toward making your living space more livable.
Finally, think about setting up a particular space for things like incoming and outgoing mail that tend to get scattered. Tip: create stations for every sort of activity your home routinely supports, like bill-paying, creating and crafts, donations, recycling, etc.
Do Maintenance Cleaning
In the kitchen and the bathroom, it’s vitally important to not let things get out of control. Keep cleaning supplies on hand and use them regularly: a toilet bowl brush next to the toilet for a quick maintenance swirl now and then; paper towels on the kitchen counter for wiping up little spills; a feather duster under the bed for a quick swipe around the bookcases.
Tip: a spray bottle of isopropyl alcohol can help to keep surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom disinfected and streak-free — even those streak-prone mirrors!
Schedule the Bigger Chores
Vacuuming, scrubbing the kitchen floor, cleaning off the fan blades — these tasks don’t need to be accomplished every day as part of your ten-minute clean-up, and if you require yourself to do them every time you tidy, you’ll find yourself procrastinating on all of your chores. However, it is wise to schedule them periodically so they don’t get neglected entirely.
Tip: use Google Calendar or a scheduling app on your smartphone and receive weekly reminders to complete your scheduled tasks.